Blast from the past: Ye olde police blotter

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In this series, we take a look back at news coverage from the early days of the Historic Triangle. In this police blotter from April 22, 1775 it is apparent that alleged criminals could be permanently marked or disfigured for their alleged crimes. Punishments such as flogging, scarring, maiming, or placing an alleged criminal in the stockade for public ridicule were all common since the founding of Jamestown. While we no longer permanently mark or disfigure our alleged criminals, this police blotter from 1775 reminds us of the roots of our judiciary system and assists us in understanding the historical changes to the system. 

blast-from-the-past-police-blotter
Last Saturday, and this week, the following persons were put to the bar of the General Court, for trial, viz. – John Watkins, from Henrico, for a rape; William Gray, from Westmoreland, for burlary; Robert Brossord, from Augusta, for grand larceny; Julius Kirk, from York, for manslaughter; William Pitman, from King George, for murder; and John Wood, from Fairfax, for burglary: Guilty. —- Michael Smith, from Norfolk, for a robbery; Thomas Sweney, from Buckingham, for larceny; Richard Sampson, and William Hoynds, from Prince William, for robbery; James Bayley, from Norfolk, for burglary; Joseph Cowper, from York, for ditto; and James Lee, from Fairfax, for a robbery: Acquitted.—-John Smith, from Fairfax (King’s evidence against John Wood) to be sent back to his county for examination touch a felony he is supposed to be guilty of.—-James Hopkins, from Orange, for horse-stealing, and James Martin and Henry Maskall, from Cumberland, for forgery, are to take their trials in June.—-Joseph Cowper, Robert Brossord, and Julius Kirk, were burnt in the hand.